A cyberpunk highlight in the history of adventure games
A massive pool of pure energy generated by the thoughts and dreams of human beings. The Dreamweb is perfectly neutral, remaining on a constant balance between good and evil, and for it not to break apart, it must be kept this way. It is watched over by guardians old as time itself. They have become aware of 7 humans on earth who has formed an alliance. These 7 different people, counting such personas as a rock star, a military general, a priest, a powerful business man and a serial killer are all "gifted". Together, with their powers united and focused, they plan to unbalance the Dreamweb and exploit its power for their own sinister purposes. They must be stopped.
A college dropout, who makes a living as a bartender in a grim future metropolis. Besides, his girlfriend Eden and his best friend Louis, Ryan has no real purpose in life. He has been haunted by dreams of the Dreamweb and of murder. He often finds himself on the brink of insanity. But this is who you are. Selected by the guardians you must destroy the 7 thus neutralizing the Dreamweb and saving the world from an apocalyptic future.
As many other reviewers has pointed out, this game is pure cyberpunk atmosphere! Once you find yourself in the world of Dreamweb, it's very hard to let go. The whole game has an amazing depth to it, with plenty of things to do and explore. Things such as entering door codes and the ability to use network computers (where you can read news, weather reports etc) just adds up to the level of immersion that you will eventually find yourself in. This is not your ordinary adventure game, this is a lot more violent, something which at the time made it so unique that you would get stuck, simply because you sometimes tried to solve puzzles in a pacifistic manner, rather than using brute force. However, this is just another reason why Dreamweb is so good, because you really have to set yourself into the mind of Ryan, who at all costs must save the world. The puzzles range between the classic adventure style and the aforementioned more obscure psycho mindset.
Technically, the game is build up in a perhaps bit unusual way for an adventure game, however it works, and the magnifying feature helps a lot. The graphics are pretty standard for its time, but the colours in the game all have this sort of dark shade to them, that works into the overall ambience. One of my favorite things in Dreamweb is undoubtedly the music, mainly consisting of looped electronic/ambient in WAV/VOC quality. From the Akira inspired intro, to the electro-dub music in Louis' appartment, the music adds a ton to the game and wouldn't be the same without it. However, what really carries Dreamweb is the fantastic story, and it is a thrill to see it unfold as you progress in the game. The ending is also one of the best and most original I've ever seen, and is just another area where it sets itself apart from other games of its kind.
One of the obvious things in Dreamweb that can be frustrating is the object handling. As many has already pointed out, you can pick up just about every object you come across in the game. You can spend hours trying to combine various objects with each other, often in vain. This is one of the downsides of a game as interactive as Dreamweb. Another thing I miss in Dreamweb is character interaction. As good as Ryan works, I would really have loved to see some more interaction with other characters. Most characters you come across in the game, are either unwilling to talk or very hesitant to do so, and while this sort of cynic antisocial attitude blends in good with the dystopian setting, I wouldn't have minded to come across some interesting characters with their own personal motivations.
The Bottom Line
Simply put, one of the most eminent cyberpunk games released to date. This is a game that deserves to be played even today.